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Women might be single for many reasons – being unmarried, divorced, or widowed, or for any other reason. Here are 12 tips for surviving singlehood, and making those years some of the best years of your life.
They took on the world when they were young. They were the best and smartest around. Knew to hold their drinks, organise the best parties and seemed like they could conquer the world. Somewhere down life’s road, circumstances just took over and they seemed to have lost it. Broken relationships, loss of a spouse, divorces, job loss, poor health and most significantly not finding the right matches for financial and other social reasons, just changed the life trajectory for many.
Even though there are numerous stories of single women doing well, parents accepting the reality of smart and single daughters and many supporting the idea, the truth still remains that it is a tough world for women and tougher if she is single. In practical terms, being single and surviving takes a lot of grit, courage and self-discipline.
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I have watched closely many singletons facing the typical social discomfort in traditional gatherings. Of course, they have learned to ignore or at least handle those typical traditional types. That is heartening. Many a times it is delightful to see ‘trophy’ wives envy the lifestyle of a successful and happy single woman.
Jokes apart, in times of need, everyone seeks them out. From wedding arrangements to hospital sit outs, I have seen single women taking on responsibilities that are actually not theirs. They are often the support system on which many a family run everyday lives. Many I know are tending to ageing or ailing parents with careers on hold or managing stretched timetables. No one questions this arrangement for the convenience of the others. Actually, it is convenient for their married siblings to put the onus on them as they prioritise ‘married’ responsibilities. In most cases, these singletons fail to enjoy or participate in festivities and celebrations because they have kind of given up. The most challenging aspect remains that if and when they fall sick, there is no support around.
Watching many single women suffering from depression or working overtime for kith and kin or being exploited by non-committal men, I wish women took better control of their lives. Easier said than done, but pragmatism helps.
Some thoughts for all women and specially the singles:
Economic Independence– This is the master key to a better life. The rest follows only if you have this.
Health is the new wealth-stay fit and all else will fall in place. If you are drinking and smoking big time, good to get into moderate mode and work towards quitting. Make exercise your new passion.
Family is an overrated institution- Let us be real. All families are not ideal, happy and supportive of single women. The sooner we accept this reality, the better it is. Don’t go out of the way to help or gift out at occasions. Play your single card wisely. Prioritise your time and then help out.
Cultivate friends–Friends are the new family. Make friends with varied types with some degree of reliability. Always good to have people with diverse skills and interests to learn, grow and change. At the same time, stay away from negative people, ex-hubbies or ex-boyfriends.
Your own place- Family owned common properties are a cause of many a heart ache. Have your own place to ensure old age is peaceful and not plagued by mistreatment by the generation next or family feuds on property. I am hoping gated communities for single women will emerge as a new real estate segment soon.
Safety First-Choose your workplace that ensures a work life balance and is not too risky for personal security. You can decide to slow down at an easy pace. Living a jet-set life and then suddenly losing your job or retiring is a tough transition to make.
Avoid romancing in the workplace– This is best for a happy workplace and to ensure personal equations do not affect workplace dynamics. Romances can be very damaging.
Build your emergency fund– Life takes different turns and unfortunate scenarios do happen. Always have a contingency fund to overcome health scares and job losses.
Enjoy your own company-Solitude can be healing. It does not mean being lonely. It is wonderful to develop new interests by joining classes and activity groups. Also, learn about organisations like the Live,Love,Laugh Foundation that is helping people in depression and connect with them on first signs of trouble.
Know how to get legal support- Perhaps the most important aspect is to know how and where to get help if required. Have a list of lawyers or service providers you can contact if the need arises.
Holidays and weekends– Stay busy n explore. Planning out holidays and weekends is a must do. Experiment with women only tours and getaways.
Keep your papers in order- Always have identity documents, bank accounts and financial information in order.
Image source: silhouette of a woman on a swing by Shutterstock.
Born in small town India to professional parents in an age when working women were
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